Building a Better World conference in Bath
Engineers from the University of Bath have warned that the new buildings in the UK and Europe need to be built in ways that are far less carbon-intensive.
Speaking at the British Research Establishment Centre for Innovative Construction Materials (BRE CICM) Built Environment: Building a Better World conference in Bath, Dr. Mark Evernden said that while significant progress has been made in recent years in reducing levels of CO₂ used in the day-to-day running of buildings, the structures themselves ‘embody’ far more carbon than is necessary.
Key discussion points:
Buildings are routinely designed to support loads equivalent to many thousands of people more than they can realistically accommodate
Over-engineering wastes resources – as buildings become more efficient, embodied carbon can surpass that used in normal running
University of Bath researchers are investigating how buildings can be engineered in a less resource-intensive way
Researchers join with industry experts to call for existing codes of practice to be revised, and for architects and civil engineers to sign industry equivalent of the Hippocratic Oath
A series of startling facts about the construction industry’s part in contributing to global emissions were also shared at the event, including:
45% of the world’s annual human-made CO₂ emissions relate to buildings
60% of all man-made materials consumed are within the construction industry
12% of all human-made CO₂ emissions derive from construction materials such as concrete
20% of all construction materials end up in landfill
Cutting wastage in construction is the key aim of the MEICON (Minimising Energy in Construction) project, a collaboration between Bath and the University of Cambridge.
The conference also featured a keynote speech from Dr Julie Bregulla of BRE Ltd and talks on infrastructure monitoring, applying circular economy principles to the construction industry and digital design and manufacture.